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FCC Sticks by Prescribed Page Limit in Denying Request in Radio Amateur’s Appeal


In an August 24 Order, the FCC denied a request by William F. Crowell, W6WBJ (ex-N6AYH) of Diamond Springs, California, for permission to file an appeal that would exceed the page length prescribed by FCC rules.

“We find that Crowell has not shown good cause for exceeding the prescribed page limit,” said the Order, signed by Linda L. Oliver, Chief of the Administrative Law Division in the FCC Office of General Counsel. “Crowell’s request indicates that he intends to appeal the order by Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Richard L. Sippel dismissing his renewal application for Amateur Radio license W6WBJ and terminating the proceeding. Under the Commission’s rules, appeals of an ALJ’s dismissal order are limited to 25 pages.”

Crowell explained in his July 30 request that his appeal “involves approximately 16 important issues of Constitutional, statutory, and regulatory interpretation applicable to the Amateur Radio Service, which have never been decided by the Commission or by the courts.” He argued that 25 pages would be insufficient and asked for an additional 10 pages.

According to the Order, under FCC rules, requests to exceed prescribed page limits are not routinely granted. “Our examination of the ALJ’s brief, six-page Order, which Crowell seeks to appeal, does not suggest that the issues involved here are unusually complex,” Oliver said. “His conclusory assertions to the contrary do not persuade us otherwise.”

In a July 9 Order, Sippel terminated Crowell’s decade-old license renewal application upon a motion by Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary C. Harold. Sippel’s Order followed Crowell’s refusal to appear in Washington, DC, for a hearing to consider not just his license renewal but related enforcement issues dating back 15 years or more.

Crowell was fined $25,000 in 2016 for intentionally interfering with the transmissions of other radio amateurs and transmitting prohibited communications, including music. The FCC said Crowell did not deny making the transmissions but argued, in large part, that those transmissions were protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. The FCC turned away that assertion.

Sippel stayed the renewal case on the basis of the pending Forfeiture Order proceeding, but said he was later informed that the US Department of Justice had decided not to prosecute the case.

Crowell may continue to operate until the final disposition of his license renewal application. His license expired in 2007.